Since 1990, our Children’s Village called Villa Amistad has provided a loving Christian community to children who have been abused, abandoned, or orphaned. Located in the city of Cochabamba, Villa Amistad utilizes a family model. Children live in one of seven casas (houses) with a mamá as the primary caregiver and a tía (aunt) as additional support. Biological siblings who would have been separated based on age or sex in other orphanages grow up together under one roof at Villa Amistad, sharing a room with one brother or sister. Unlike the more than 50 children’s institutions in Cochabamba, Amistad is uniquely equipped to receive as many as five siblings in one casa, regardless of age difference. Villa Amistad is home to 60-65 children from age one to 17.
Amistad Mission offers more than housing for these children. They receive regular spiritual formation through daily chapel worship, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, youth groups, and Young Life. The children attend a wide variety of schools based on their individual learning needs. A social worker, psychologists, and external therapists support the children’s emotional health. Access to medical specialists ensures the children’s physical well being. They also learn important life and social skills through working in Villa Amistad’s 100% organic communal garden and by participating in extracurricular activities, like swimming, basketball, soccer, chess, and art classes.
In their late teenage years, the children move off campus to our single-sex youth houses, one for boys and one for girls. These youth have greater independence but also more responsibility. They rotate cooking and cleaning duties in the house, and most maintain part-time employment concurrently with their high school studies.
Following the youth house, our young adults move to shared apartments in the city to pursue studies in technical school or university, funded by Amistad. Technical school degrees in Bolivia range from one-three years, while university degrees take five years. The young adults at Amistad graduate from their higher education programs and obtain gainful employment in their fields of study. Their remarkable achievements resonate in a country where less than 10% of the population has a professional degree.